For many, it is a frightening time to be an American. It seems that hate is spewing from all sorts of places. If you are a minority in America, you probably feel uneasy. Also, this feeling doesn’t get any better when you see the majority of Americans going about their normal activities. Sure, not everyone is persecuting a minority group, but many people are also not doing much of anything to help or reassure minorities. However, this wasn’t the case outside of a mosque recently. A Texas man decided to actively reassure a minority group they didn’t need to face their fears alone.
The man created a sign to carry during his time in the parking lot of the Islamic Center of Irving. The sign simply read, “You belong.” The image of the man and his sign has since gone viral. The picture first appeared on Reddit. It eventually was posted by someone else on Twitter. On Twitter, the image earned over 160,000 favorites. The image of the man and his sign has become a terrific message of support for the Muslim community. As hate crimes increase across the nation, this sign provides millions of Muslims and Americans with a much needed dose of hope.
Representatives reporting from inside of the Islamic Center say the man has been outside with his sign for several days. The man clearly wasn’t intending to just give a quick message during his lunch break. His dedication of displaying his message over the course of several days is a burst of sunshine for Muslims who fear President-elect Trump might carry out his intentions of banning Muslims from entering the country. Yes, the sign is a small gesture, but if you fear Trump might force you to put you and your family into a national registry for Muslims, a sign like this can make your day feel a little bit better.
Interestingly, the Islamic Center of Irving is a location of significance during this time of national uncertainty. For example, a Facebook user once lobbed false accusations against the Islamic Center of Irving back in 2015. The user falsely claimed people inside of the mosque settled disputes through Sharia law. This false piece of information prompted the mayor of Irving to announce that Muslims intended to destroy America on the inside. There have also been numerous anti-Muslim protests in the area. In November 2015, a collection of citizens stood outside of the building with long guns and signs reading, “Stop the Islamization of America.” It is truly refreshing to see the man and his sign at such a troubled location.
It is unclear exactly how long the man intends to carry his sign around the parking lot. If the positive reaction he is receiving from people around the world continues, he may just stand there for a very long time. The man and his sign may become a beacon of hope for the Muslim community for the next four years in America.
There is also the possibility signs like this could spread. Imagine a world where members of the privileged majority stood outside the homes and buildings of minorities to offer similar support. Such a positive statement stemming from average citizens would surely give the people in power a chance to rethink some of their opinions and intentions for the future. Consider making a sign yourself to show your own support for a marginalized group. However, if this is a bit far out of your comfort zone, you can always simply share this image of the Texas man with others. Let us know what you decide to do below!